John Ssebaana Kizito was 72-years old and the oldest among the aspirants when he ran for president in 2006. He ran on the Democratic Party (DP) ticket. Nine years later, it is a challenge he recalls with fondness and readily shares tips for today’s presidential candidates, especially Museveni who is 71-years old and the oldest on the campaign trail.
I met Ssebaana Kizito, now 81-years old, at his workstation at Sure House in Kampala. He still has his big smile. And his signature hoarse voice has grown even hoarser. Even his dapper suits, complete with pocket-kerchief, persist. But he walks and talks with difficulty ever since his left side got paralysed a few years ago and he appears to speak and breathe with difficulty. But he is not one to be easily stopped.
“Few people in my condition would make it to work and deliver like I do. But, If I decide to stay home and rest, I would become weaker yet I want to keep strong,” Ssebaana tells me. “There is also a workload that I must handle and missing out means it piles up.”
As a result, every day at 10am Ssebaana will be at his desk at Sure House, one of the bigger and elegant blocks of offices in Kampala, which he owns. He works as the founder member and chairman of Statewide Insurance Company Limited (SWICO). His day is quite busy with the phone ringing often and a long queue of going in and out his office.